Microsoft has teamed up with internet service providers (ISPs) AOL, Yahoo! and EarthLink for an orchestrated anti-spam offensive that kicks off with the software giant bringing a trio of lawsuits under the US Can-Spam federal law.
The three ISPs have also filed separate lawsuits against accused spammers in courts in Virginia, Georgia and California. AOL has filed two lawsuits, while EarthLink and Yahoo! each filed a single lawsuit.
"Collectively, these four ISPs continue to change the economics of spam by identifying and targeting top alleged spammers," said Aaron Kornblum, Microsoft's internet safety enforcement attorney.
"Microsoft alone has supported more than 100 legal actions worldwide, including 75 lawsuits in the US, against those who strain our consumers' inboxes with unwanted and deceptive email, many carrying and transmitting malicious code, spyware and links to phishing sites."
The three Microsoft lawsuits allege that defendants spoofed the domains of all four ISPs and used open proxies to route the emails.
The defendants allegedly sent millions of email messages advertising herbal growth supplements, mortgage services and get-rich-quick schemes, all in violation of the Can-Spam law.
AOL's two lawsuits both name numerous 'John Does' as defendants and allege violations of federal and state laws. One lawsuit is the very first to expressly target 'Spim' instant messaging abuse.
EarthLink's suit, against numerous 'John Doe' defendants, alleges that illegal and deceptive emails were used to advertise prescription drugs available without a legitimate prescription and low mortgage or loan rates.
Yahoo! filed a lawsuit against East Coast Exotics Entertainment Group and Epoth LLC for allegedly disguising their identity, designing messages to circumvent spam filters, and using sexually explicit subject lines to send unsolicited sexually oriented spam.
This is the second round of junk email related enforcement actions filed by the anti-spam alliance, which was founded in April 2003. Earlier this year the four companies filed the first major industry lawsuits against accused spammers under the Can-Spam law.
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